Monday, November 21, 2016
OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for Construction that is intended to help small business employers comply with the agency's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. The guide describes in easy-to-understand language the steps that employers are required to take to protect employees in construction from the hazards associated with silica exposure. All covered must: provide respiratory protection when required; restrict silica exposure from housekeeping practices where feasible; implement a written exposure control plan; offer medical exams to workers who will need to wear a respirator for 30 or more days a year; communicate hazards and train employees; and keep records of medical examinations. Enforcement of the final rule in construction is due to begin June 23, 2017.
New research demonstrates how occupational safety and health can play a key role in business sustainability strategies
Although "sustainability" has been traditionally associated with environmental activities, there is a growing movement to expand the definition. The Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council recently released a white paper, Profiles in Sustainability: Business, Community, and Environment, describing how member companies are integrating worker safety and health into their overall sustainability planning. Safety and health professionals can use the information to define, drive, measure and report their own sustainability efforts.
Public meetings set on hazard communication issues: potential rulemaking and interagency collaboration
OSHA will hold a public meeting to discuss potential updates to the Hazard Communication Standard on Nov. 16, 2016, in Arlington, Va. OSHA is beginning its rulemaking efforts to maintain alignment of the Hazard Communication Standard with the most recent revision of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. The agency is requesting feedback from stakeholders on issues that they would like OSHA to consider in the rulemaking. The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Mine Safety and Health Administration Headquarters, 201 12th St. South, Suite 700, Arlington, Va. 22202. For more information on conference call-in capability and pre-registration instructions, see the Federal Register notice.
In addition, two meetings related to hazardous materials are set for Nov. 15 at Department of Transportation's headquarters in Washington, DC. In the morning, from 9 to noon, DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will discuss proposals in preparation for the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods session in Switzerland later this year. From 1 to 4 p.m., OSHA will host a public meeting of the U.S. Interagency System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals Coordinating Group. Topics will include an update on GHS-related issues and a discussion of public comments. For more information on conference call-in capability and pre-registration instructions, see the Federal Register notice.
Additional information about these public meetings is available on OSHA's Hazard Communication webpage.
Recently released occupational injury and illness data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a significant drop in the rate of recordable workplace injuries and illnesses in 2015. Private sector employers reported about 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2015, a decline of about 48,000 from 2014, despite an increase in total hours worked. The rate of cases recorded was 3.0 cases per 100 full-time workers – down from 3.2 in 2014. This rate has declined for all but one of the last 13 years.
"We are encouraged to see the significant decline in worker injury and illness rates," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "This is the result of the relentless efforts of employers, unions, worker advocates, occupational safety and health professionals, and federal and state government agencies ensuring that worker safety and health remains a top priority every day." For more information, read the full statement.